Tutor blog

Should I do a Masters? Advice from a Postgrad

This is a guest blog post written by Ariana Fanning, a History, English and Politics tutor on MyTutor.

Our final years of university are often spent wondering what route we’ll take after graduation. It can be a daunting process, and at times it can feel as though there’s no one around offering advice. In my final year, I started to really think about what I wanted to do – but after looking at different careers, I felt like nothing connected with me. I didn’t feel ready to give up academic study and realised that I wanted to learn different skills in order to feel confident searching for a career. By writing this post, I hope to offer the best advice I can and make the process seem more accessible rather than intimidating!

The specialist nature of a Masters

A Masters is an opportunity for you to become a master in your subject. One thing that surprised me whilst I was searching, was the breadth of courses within just one subject area that you could study. For the first time, I could ensure that my entire course was in an area that I was interested in, and I could finally study and pursue my exact interests. For a lot of people, postgraduate courses offer a chance to study something you feel more certain about than what you chose after leaving school. I hear constantly from people that pursued a Masters that they enjoyed their course a lot more than at undergrad level, because they had enough experience to choose a course that they felt sure about. Whilst studying History, I realised early on that I only enjoyed a specialised area of my subject, so it was an amazing discovery for me that I could make this the focus of my entire postgraduate degree. You’d be surprised at just how specific courses can be! A lot of friends who decided to pursue a Masters went from studying something purely essay-based to a degree that was more practical. It really is another chance to refocus your study, which is something that can benefit your future career choices.

Where to search

The best place to search for Masters courses are university websites themselves. There are usually massive lists of the different courses offered by different departments, and one thing I really encourage is to look at everything that’s on offer rather than limiting yourself. I found so many courses that interested me, from departments that I hadn’t previously considered. Often, universities will allow you to apply to more than one course in the same application, so really getting to know what’s on offer is such an advantage.

There are loads of different factors to consider whilst you search for the perfect course, like location, finance, and the university itself. A good tip is to consider these elements first to help you narrow down your search. For example, I knew I was going to live at home whilst studying so I only looked at the universities that were close to me.

How to finance it

Financing a Masters can be tricky. There are different things to consider, like whether you’ll fund it privately or through a loan. I recommend looking into grants, scholarships, and alumni discounts to see what your options are. Many people are surprised when they realise their undergraduate universities offer alumni discounts for students who decide to stay at their institution to study, even if it’s a different course. You’ll also have to think about living costs and rent, which can be overwhelming – but university websites offer a lot of help, from direct advice to estimations of just how much you can expect to be paying overall.

Reaching out for support

Support is often there, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and get in contact with your professors. Lecturers and professors can be invaluable during this process, so be bold and ask for advice! I asked mine what they thought about certain courses and if they thought they aligned with my interests. I also spoke to the Careers Office at my university to get some opinions about how a Masters could benefit different career routes. Lastly, I got into contact with a few of the professors on the course I applied for, asking them if certain modules would be running. Each place I went to for help was so welcoming, and it really helped clarify my decision and put me at ease. Universities have so many different avenues for seeking help – it really is worth making use of it!

As with most things, the best advice is to do what sparks your interest and makes you happy, whichever route you take – I wish you the best of luck!

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